Friday, September 28, 2007

Our last day

We woke up our last morning to rain hitting the roof of our trailer. The guys had big plans for a huge breakfast of eggs, bacon, pancakes, hot coffee and right down to drinking milk out of a camping-tin-cup. It was freezing. They decided that we just would go to the Dardanelles store. It has a restaurant to one end of it with the sweetest little cafe. They serve everything you would think a mountain restaurant would serve, from chicken fried steak, mashes potatoes and gravy with biscuits and homemade apple pie, to huge pancakes with maple syrup. Ever since I started camping at Dardanelles (since the 8th grade), I have always wanted to eat there. All this time... and I never have. It was a treat! The weather was perfect! Everything felt right. Even if it was cold and drizzled rain. We had gone there later that evening after we BBQ'd hamburgers and sat around the fire visiting. There was live music and karaoke in the back of the store where there was a bar/buffet eating area with standing heaters (which were really nice might I add). We had a really great time.

This is what we woke up to.

This was on the outside of Dardanelles Cafe by the entry door.

As I was walking a long the river, it started to rain again. I was watching the ripples from the rain drops hitting the water. I couldn't help but think about how that applies to our lives. A simple gesture, an act of kindness or a smile goes a long way. Never underestimate that.

It just amazes me how these tall trees with their bare roots on top of the earth are exposed and they can still stand.
Rain drops dripping off of a pine tree's needles.

I pay $ for these at the craft store and spritz them with cinnamon spice oil and put them in a treasured antique bowl during the fall/winter season.

A break in the clouds before the sun sets. I love the silhouette of the dark trees and how it contrasts with the blue and white back ground.

This fire was our warmth for three days. I came down with a cold the morning we had left to go camping. With the way I was feeling, there were times I just wanted to crawl into that fire. I couldn't get close enough to it. The discussions, stories, laughter and roasting marshmallows we did right around that fire were all a memory worth keeping though. I really did have a wonderful time!
Woman's Retreat

This was taken 10 years ago! If you start from the end of the ladies standing and count 5 in, that is me and Darlene is standing next to me. Wanda mom is standing at the top of the stairs. (Click to enlarge)

Today I am leaving to spend the weekend at a woman's retreat in Oakhurst just outside of Yosemite at Sugar Pine Christan Camp. A few of my favorite girls; Wanda Mom, and Darlene will also be attending. Now I am happy to say that my daughter Diandra also goes to these retreats with me. I was trying to think when I first started going to this Christian Woman's retreat... I think it is going on 10 years now! The picture above is from my first year that I attended. I have been hooked ever since. It has always been an experience that I have carried with me and from which I have learned a lot. This year's theme is "The Potter's House."

Thursday, September 27, 2007


While we were camping, I took a walk a long the river and saw this little bird just sitting in the water. At first, I thought that something was wrong with it...

no~ it was just taking a bath.

Now, this bird is definately an early riser. It is getting its worm!

*NOTE ~ Double post today

moss on trees

I took pictures of these trees recently on our camping trip. The moss grows on them like crazy. It looks soft, but it is not. It is kinda crispy and looks as though you could just pull it off the tree. But, you actually can't. I tried. It's so secure that I had to pull, but it just ripped it instead. It falls off the tree naturally lining the ground beneathe. Since it had just rained, there was more on the ground than usual. My friend and I gathered two paper bags full to bring home.
Does anyone know why it grows on the tree like this?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

i see hearts

Sometimes, I just see hearts. I don't even have to look for them. They just pop out at me.

Taken on one of my walks while we were camping. I had looked down to make sure I didn't step in the puddle after it rained.

Also taken on one of my walks...

Is there something that you see over and over without looking for it? Do you ever think that perhaps you see this image/object, etc...because it has an underlying meaning; a message or lesson you are needing to comprehend, and haven't "caught" yet?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


taken outside of Kennedy Meadows


If you're ever going to love me love me now, while I can know
All the sweet and tender feelings which from real affection flow.
Love me now, while I am living; do now wait till I am gone
And then chisel it in marble-warm love words on ice-cold stone.
If you've dear, sweet thoughts about me, why not whisper them to me?
Don't you know 'twould make me happy and as glad as glad as could be?
If you Wait till I am sleeping, ne'er to waken here again,
There'll be walls of earth between us and I couldn't hear you then.
If you knew someone was thirsting for a drop of water sweet
Would you be so slow to bring it? Would you step with laggard feet?
There are tender hearts all round us who are thirsting for our love;
I won't need your kind caresses when the grass grows o'er my face;
So then, if you love me any, if it's but a little bit,
Let me know it now while living; I can own and treasure it.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Points of Interest

Well, we made it back!
The morning we left, I had heard that it snowed where we were going to go camping. I had not packed my clothes yet (I told you, I procrastinate), so I took the opportunity when I got off work to throw on layers of clothes. I packed sweaters, gloves, threw in warm socks and an extra box of hot chocolate.

We headed up the hills to the mountains. Sure enough, I did see snow... I was a little nervous, I have never camped in the snow before, but was up for the challenge. I was thankful that where we were camping, the snow had melted. Unfortunately, the air was still crisp and cold at a steady 42 degrees during the day. We had a campfire going 24/7 the three days that we were there.

One of the first things I do when I get there is check the river to see how high or low the water is. I do this while I wait for my husband Charlie to situate the trailer before we can get settled. I can see my little ones (from memory) running around, picking up rocks and throwing them, checking out our spot carved on the side of the mountain that we will call home for the duration of our camping trip... it is just me and my husband and I miss this time I am remembering that flew by. The soap opera which spoke the words now famous by Macdonald Carey of Days of our Lives, 'Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.' Next chapter... We are with friends now.

The first day was nice and we got a chance to show them some points of interest.


The Bartleson-Bidwell party of 34 people was the first emigrant group to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains from the east. When they passed through this area during late October 1841, some of the party tried to fallow the river. The impassable canyon below forced them to rejoin the party on the ridge trail across the canyon. Finally, starved and worn out, they arrived in the San Joaquin Valley.

The canyon below was the scene of the last battle between Indians and whites in Tuolumne County. On February 10, 1858, a band of Piutes attacked a group of employees of the Columbia & Stanislaus River Water Co. In the fight which followed Jerry Perley was killed, S. Waldron and Michael Hildreth were wounded, T. Enochs escaped by feigning death, and two Indians were killed.

The Indians escaped a pursuing party of Columbian miners, led by Fred Hildrath, by crossing the summit into their tribal area.

*When my son Rob was a teenager, he crossed the river and found an Indian Arrowhead. These mountains hold a lot of history.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Much needed R & R

Autum is here for awhile
Festivals are all around
There is still time for a great smile
Before winter snow is on the ground
Cool evenings, a campfire with friends
Hot dogs, hamburgers and laughter abound


I am off to the High Sierra...

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Wonderful Wonderment of Children

In the right place at the right time,
tomato worms on tomato vines.

She is perfectly still, calm and concerned;
poised by the vines, hunting for worms.
Michael P. Garofalo

Monday, September 17, 2007

Thank You Lord!

I woke up from a very bad dream Saturday morning. It was about Rob. I dreamt that our entire family was in Kuwait... we were in the desert. Rob and Diandra were digging a hole and there were people from Kuwait that were playing a ball game that resembled soccer right next to us. I didn't have a good feeling about it. My Great Gram was there holding a paper bag and Rob and Diandra were pulling Rob's toys out of it and putting them into the hole to be buried. I felt the people from Kuwait closing in on us.... They grabbed the paper bags from my Great Gram's hands, and went on playing their game. I looked at Rob and he wasn't a man anymore he was younger. A little boy crying, saying, "Mom, what am I going to do without my family? I need my family.... " I was on my knees facing him, holding his arms telling him, "Rob, we are with you. We are always with you. You can do this," and then he disappeared. That is when I woke up. I felt sick. I felt like I was going to get hysterical. I called my mom, just wanting to hear her voice... tell her about my dream. She always brings me back with encouraging positive thoughts. I needed to hear that right then. She wasn't home. I called my littlest sister Kiersten, she let me cry... and then talked me back to calm. I called Nessa, and she said Rob had told her that he would be home Tuesday night. I know why I dreamt that dream. I have pushed the thought back that when he leaves the base, it will be dangerous. He let me know that he could be leaving soon to come home but didn't know for sure when. It would be dangerous. I got up from my phone call to Nessa and went to the computer to check if Rob had written me an e-mail. He did. This is what it said...

"Mom I am coming home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Jeez mom I miss you so much and America. AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!I will be in America Monday night. I love you. This is the last time I will get on email. Don't forget."

This was written to my mom...(Rob doesn't realize this, but we forward our e-mails we get from him to one another. We don't do it to all of them, but most of them).

"Well, as of tomorrow I will be waiting at the PAX to head off to America. Its a long process coming home but well worth it. I have learned a lot about myself and Vanessa on this trip. Especially myself. I have come to realize the little joys of life I have taken for granted here and so much more. I got papa a flag that was flown to Iraq and commemorated by the officers towards him. I even have a picture for him. I think he will really love it. Don't tell him anything. I will surprise him sometime. I want him to know how much I love him. I love you to Nana and if it wasn't for your emails and your support this would have been even harder than it was. Gosh I am so happy I am coming home. I cant thank God enough for everything he has done in my life so far. I have missed everyone so much. I miss you a lot Nana. Tell everyone you know I am coming home. I cant wait to celebrate when I come back. I love you. Love Rob."

I am on my knees, thanking God for his safe return home (I don't know if and when he has to go back, I haven't gotten to talk with him at this point). When I say home, I mean the United States of America. I thought that where he was stationed in Nebraska was sooooo far away. I don't anymore. It is literally a hop-skip and a jump away from me compared to the other side of the world where there is turmoil occurring. I feel like I have been holding my breath. Now, it is time to exhale.

I will continue to pray for our troops and their safe return, for their loved ones, and for peace to cover this world. A huge THANK YOU for all that have been praying, have prayed for him and our family. I truly appreciate it from the center of my heart!

Thank you Lord!

Centennial Celebration

Above is an aerial view of Hughson Avenue taken in 1921. The white Hotel can be seen in the left background.

This is the updated picture of how it is now. In the second story, dance lessons are given on the hardwood floor. Classical dances like the tango, waltz, and salsa. Each month is a different style and technique!

This is a plaque that is on the Hotel

This window is on the side of the Hotel where the Historical Society is located. I remember the Blue Chip Stamp book! We got some great items there!
These are the new street lights they put up a few years ago... I think they are so pretty!

Hughson residents will be celebrating the city's centennial Sept.22 with an all-day fair on Main Street. The "Small Community With a Big Heart" is the theme for the free event that is open to the public. A bronze sculpture by Betty Saletta known as "The Harvest" will be unveiled downtown. It represents a farm worker picking peaches and celebrates Hughson's reputation as the peach capital of the world. A range of food and commemorative gifts will be available. Also on the agenda is a parade which will also include the Wells Fargo Wagon with the huge horses. There will be an antique car and tractor show, live entertainment, food boothe's and a traditional beans and bread luncheon and peaches of course, which is all free.

I took this standing in front of a chain link fence that is around where they are going to put the Bronze statue. It will go between the two poles. I believe the rectangle in front of the two poles is where the time capsule is.

About 45 locals were on hand for the 2007 Centennial Celebration Time Capsule entombment ceremony. Future Hughson Residents will get to open the time capsule on Sept.22, 2107. I was going to tell you what went into this time capsule but I was reading all 61 items and thought that if any of you are really interested, ask me and I will e-mail you them.

This is our Ace Auto hardware... I have ran here probably two hundred times for Charlie since we have moved here.

This is Hughson's best kept secret. They have the best Mexican food.

The Hughson Chronicle is also located in the back of the hotel.

The night before this Centennial is also our Football Homecoming. This is also quite an event in itself. Our town consists of a lot of farmers and is also known as a good ole' football town. In 1997 Hughson Huskies were the T.V.L Champions 13-0 Div. 4 State Champions - -Div. 3 C.I.F./Arco AM-PM Sac-Joaquin Section Champions. Never lost one game! I am proud to say our son Michael was part of that. You can bet that the whole town of Hughson are at these games. If you do not get there early, you'll be standing. It is unbelievable. It is like a huge Hughson party.

I have been looking forward to this ever since I seen the bronze sculpture being talked about. Various artists submitted sketches of statue idea and their models were voted on. I am so bummed I won't be able to make any of this. My husband and I will be taking our last camping trip with some friends to see the trees change their colors. It is also beautiful this time of year there. I know that I will have a wonderful rested and relaxed time, but I did so want to be a part of what is happening in our little town.
BIG sigh
Wanda Mom.... I set the first part of this event up, you can get the second part. Get some great pics!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Up, Up and Away!

This was the second annual Color the Skies benefit for Children's Hospital Central California. I have been to both.

In order to see this two day event, I had to get up very early. It started at 5:30 A.M and ended at 1 P.M.. I set my alarm, pulled my sweats on, threw my hair up into a pony tail, put a ball cap on, grabbed my coffee and camera. I was so excited, I had to watch how fast I was driving.

Right away, I could see that there was a lot of activity. The ground-crew members had filled the giant balloons carefully with periodic hot-flame bursts from propane burners. Hundreds of onlookers chattered and mingled among the balloons on the damp turf, while others set up lawn chairs.

This nice lady motioned to me to come closer to get a picture.

This was taken of the inside of the balloon!

The invigorating launch and poetic flight of the flock of hot air balloons.

The first balloon went up!

Here is the Gallo balloon.

And another went up and up...

This man John Ninomiva from San Diego went up in a cluster of helium balloons on Saturday. On Sunday he was attached to an ordinary hot air balloon.

This is one of the balloons they were giving away to resemble the hot air balloons.

There was also face painting (I don't know who this sweet little girl is).

There was also a section where they were flying kites.

The kids could also pick up huge wands sitting in soap buckets and blow bubbles.

Can you believe I can't get anyone in my family to go with me? This event is geared all around the children. You could get breakfast which consisted of a big plate of pancakes, eggs and sausage. There was also a magician, clown show and many performances. I noticed how all of the kids were so happy and their parents were enjoying the various events available as well. Everyone was really having a good time. You couldn't help but just feel really good walking away from this event. I was back at home by 8:30 A.M. HA! They missed it! They always wish they had gone with me after seeing the photos I have taken and how happy I am that I went.

Maybe next year...